Homeomorphic Manifold

Vanessa Argento (website), Andres Marin (website), Jawwad Nakai (website), Yu Ting (Julie) Wu (website)
University of Michigan, Taubman School of Architecture and Urban Planning
Arch 662 – Thesis Studio
Faculty: Sandra Manninger (website)


Homeomorphic Manifold explores the manufacturing potential of textile architecture into a double-curved surface without a mold. Mold-free design methodologies leverage lightweight composite material assemblies as a means of providing alternative solutions to issues of material transportation and intuitive modes of on-site assembly. In addition to being lightweight and mold-free, textile challenges the modern understanding of a space that is temporal yet sensual. This research pursues two perspectives in regards to the design and fabrication of double-curved surfaces: elastic fabric material research and implementation of textile structures in architectural settings.

The first aspect examines methods of shell-like creations by weaving nylon monofilaments as complex two-dimensional geometric patterns, which inherently possess spatial information, into a tensioned fabric surface. As the fibers resist the tension of the fabric upon release, the overall pattern choreographs new topography, generating three dimensional constructs. Due to the un-scalable nature of the product, the design process undergoes constant scalar readjustments, examining varying states of rigidity and motility through iterations of trial-and error. Discovery through surprises have, therefore, been a frequent visitor of our research effort, as the resulting spatial qualities are not completely predictable.

The latter outlook investigates the spatial ramifications of integrating performance requirements into architectural practice. The analyses of textile logic employed in the fabrication of a mold-free shells suggests implementation portable to other domains such as structure, lighting, and acoustics, all the while broaching conversations about morphology, scalability, transportability, and transience.


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